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Cockington Village: A Tapestry of History & Tranquil Charm, Preserved by Martin Dutton

Updated: May 24, 2023

Nestled inland from the towns bustling seafront, Cockington Village enchants visitors with its rich historical tapestry and idyllic charm. Steeped in centuries-old traditions and boasting a Saxon heritage dating back to the 8th century, this village has witnessed the rise and fall of noble families, endured confiscations and restorations, and evolved into a model village that captivates the imagination. From its medieval manor house to its ancient church and picturesque gardens, Cockington Village invites exploration and promises a journey through time.

Cockington's Illustrious Past

Cockington Village traces its origins to a Saxon settlement established in the 8th century, a testament to its enduring heritage. However, it was first documented as Cochintone in the Domesday Book of 1085, under the ownership of William de Falaise, a prominent figure as a tenant-in-chief to William the Conqueror. De Falaise held not only Cockington but also sixteen other manors in Devon, including the charming hamlet of Holne on Dartmoor.

Throughout its history, Cockington Village witnessed the rise and fall of influential families who held the reins of power and the fate of the village itself. From the Fitzmartins in the 12th to the 14th century, to the Carys from the 14th to the 17th century, and finally the Mallock family from the 17th to the early 20th century, these families left their indelible marks on the village's destiny. The fortunes of these eminent families ebbed and flowed, influenced by their loyalty to the reigning monarchs and their involvement in the turbulent events of English history.

Cockington Court: From Manor House to Model Village

The focal point of Cockington Village is the picturesque Cockington Court, a manor house that witnessed centuries of history and transformations. Built in its current form in 1679 by Rawlyn Mallock, it was later modified by Roger Mallock in the early 19th century to adapt to changing times and reduce tax liabilities. Over the years, Cockington Court served various purposes, from housing Lord Rothermere's art collection to becoming an ice cream factory and a home for the Parks department. However, in the 1990s, it underwent extensive renovations and emerged as a craft centre, showcasing the talents of rural artisans.

Architectural Treasures and Natural Delights

Today, walking through Cockington Village feels like stepping into a bygone era. The heart of the village is adorned with thatched cottages that exude rustic charm. Among the most photographed properties are The Forge, a picturesque thatched building that incorporates remnants dating back to the 14th century, The Mill, a captivating cottage with a restored waterwheel from 1878, and Weavers Cottage, a delightful tearoom where visitors can enjoy a traditional Devon cream tea in a serene walled courtyard garden.

Venturing further, Cockington Country Park welcomes visitors with open arms. The park encompasses Cockington Court, now a tearoom and crafts centre, and the ancient St. George and St. Mary's Church. Exploring the park reveals a network of paths and bridleways that lead through fern-laden paths, formal parkland, and three ornamental ponds known as Cockington Lakes. These ponds, believed to date back to the 12th century, were originally created to supply trout and carp to the nearby Torre Abbey's monks.

Preserving the Legacy

Cockington Village's unique charm and historical significance have been recognized and preserved by various organizations. The village and Cockington Court are now managed by the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, ensuring that the heritage and natural beauty of this idyllic setting are protected for generations to come.

The village's sites are also a frequent subject for plein air painters and in this way too, Cockington's beauty is held in the record of contemporary artworks. In this scene by Martin Dutton, the centre of the village is captured, four of its untouched thatched buildings, a beautiful rural picture that stands in stark contrast to the grandeur of the manor just a short walk away.

Today Cockington is a testament to the enduring spirit of a bygone era with its rich history, architectural treasures, and natural delights, it captures the imagination of visitors and offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Whether exploring the medieval manor house, meandering through thatched cottages, or immersing oneself in the beauty of Cockington Country Park, a visit to this enchanting village promises a journey through time and a chance to experience the serenity of rural England.

You can discover Martin's work at Artizan Collective Gallery until June 25th. For more information, visit



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